In a time where Googling the words "town budget" results in articles and blogs loaded with keywords such as cuts and strain, the town of Foxborough received a bit of good news Tuesday night.
Town Manager Kevin Paicos announced a "historic" budget for the town, resulting in services being maintained and taxpayer relief. The town will be able to meet all of its legal obligations without taxing to the limit allowed under the Proposition 2 1/2 tax-limiting law, Paicos announced.
Although the calendar year 2012 has just begun, the town of Foxborough has already been hard at work on the fiscal year 2013 town budget, completing the budget draft early. The board of selectmen discussed the upcoming FY2013 budget process with Town Manager Kevin Paicos and Finance Director Randy Scollins during their Tuesday night meeting, which was designed to gain feedback from selectmen as they prepare for the budget process.
Paicos credited town management's conservative actions throughout the years, which has helped to create more than $1.8 million in "budget efficiencies, reductions and new revenues."
"The very conservative practices of the town is the overwhelming reason why we are in this shape," he said.
Scollins noted that they were able to reduce the health care budget because of a number factors including a shift to a less expensive plan, the slowing pace of the number of subscribers and the move to early retirees contributing the same.
Paicos added that the town is still waiting on the governor’s budget and state aid numbers.
"Historic budget, first time in memory we have a budget that offers a real probability that some of these numbers stabilize and mature," said Paicos.
The draft budget requires no layoffs and will provide for raises for union and non-union employees, according to Paicos.
Two new changes, if approved, mentioned by the town manager includes appointing two new employees in the tree and park division and obtainting a 70 foot bucket truck to aid in tree and branch removal.
"This is not a robust budget. [Basically we have been able to take] all the programs last year and this year and replicate them," noted Paicos. "On the other hand, we are not cutting, no public safety cuts."
Selectmen Chair Larry Harrington, while recongizing the "good health" of the town, said that there are many Foxborough residents struggling with water rate increases, taxes and layoffs in their own lives.
Harrington added that it is "still important to recognize the 11 percent of children in Foxborough" who are currently on food plans.
"It is tough economic times," he said.